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Need help with PC audio cables and sound processing

Caveman

Platinum Member
Nov 18, 1999
2,455
12
81
Building a new PC that will be primarily used for flight simulation with an alternate use as a HT PC.

The PC will sit in the media closet and can be plumbed into a Denon 1910 audio/video Rx. What cables/connections do I use to port over the sound and video from my PC?

Will I need 2 HDMI cables? 1 for sound and 1 for video? Or, does one HDMI get both (wondering how sound could come through a video card ?)... How about TOSlink, or other cable types for carrying audio? Any advice?

How about sound processing? If I take a game's "PC software generated sound" and port it directly to the Rx, and then plugin speakers or headphones to the Rx, I assume it will sound great because the Rx is acting like a "super" soundcard at that point, yes?
 
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AnitaPeterson

Diamond Member
Apr 24, 2001
5,684
70
91
HDMI should carry sound just fine (I know ATI/AMD had figured this one out long ago, not sure how good NVidia's implementation is these days).

If you have a really good soundcard (Creative x-Fi and above) you can use the digital output to pass along PCM sound to the receiver, instead of the HDMI (which may be a better solution for HTPC purposes).

That's it, just two cables :)
 

Binky

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
4,046
4
81
When properly setup, modern video cards generally pipe the sound to the receiver without modification, then the receiver does the processing of the DTS/Dolby/whatever signal. The receiver acts as the processor and the amplifier.

HDMI should work fine (single). If necessary, you could also use the other outputs like optical, but this should only be necessary in odd configurations. If you use another output, just disable the HDMI sound in Windows and enable the other output. A dedicated sound card shouldn't be necessary.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
14,828
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When properly setup, modern video cards generally pipe the sound to the receiver without modification, then the receiver does the processing of the DTS/Dolby/whatever signal. The receiver acts as the processor and the amplifier.

HDMI should work fine (single). If necessary, you could also use the other outputs like optical, but this should only be necessary in odd configurations. If you use another output, just disable the HDMI sound in Windows and enable the other output. A dedicated sound card shouldn't be necessary.
Just to add a thought to Binky's.

We had a long thread here months ago, because someone had problems flipping their TV on or off, and I'd remarked that multiple audio outputs were tricky. At that time, I stumbled on a Media Center plug-in downloadable from a French web-site:

http://windowsmediacenter.blogspot.com/2010/12/change-default-windows-audio-device.html

This allows for seamless switching within Media Center between -- say -- your 5.1 onboard sound or a sound card with speakers attached to the computer, and an AVR/HDTV Home theater setup.

You can probably have three or more speaker/output/AVR configurations with different speakers.

But as far as easiest and simplest setup between an AVR/HDTV and the computer, just use the video card's HDMI port. Or you could probably use the onboard Intel HDMI port on boards with regular Sandy Bridge, IB or Haswell. It's the AVR that will provide the sound quality, so there's no need for some sort of pre-processing.

Again to emphasize: HDMI will carry both the video signal and the audio signal. You'd run a short HDMI patch from the AVR to the HDTV and configure so that the AVR provides the sound.

Remember. The Swiss Chef says: "simple is best!"
 

Caveman

Platinum Member
Nov 18, 1999
2,455
12
81
All, thanks for the help!

I'm taking these as the "take home messages":

1) The HDMI cable plugged into the graphics card to carry video to the Rx will also port the sound signal from the onboard Mobo sound as well.

2) Routing another cable such as optical TOSlink may be useful but will probably never be used.

3) Onboard MoBo sound is probably 98% of the way there relative to even the best dedicated sound cards today. Porting to the Rx gets you 100% of the way there.

Thanks again folks!
 

Ancalagon44

Diamond Member
Feb 17, 2010
3,275
202
106
All, thanks for the help!

I'm taking these as the "take home messages":

1) The HDMI cable plugged into the graphics card to carry video to the Rx will also port the sound signal from the onboard Mobo sound as well.

2) Routing another cable such as optical TOSlink may be useful but will probably never be used.

3) Onboard MoBo sound is probably 98% of the way there relative to even the best dedicated sound cards today. Porting to the Rx gets you 100% of the way there.

Thanks again folks!
1) is close but slightly incorrect.

It should be:
The HDMI cable plugged into the graphics card will output the audio in bytestream format for it to be interpreted by the receiver. Your mobo's onboard soundcard will not be used at all.

In practice, this will result in better sound quality than if your mobo's onboard audio is involved. The reason is that you are delaying the conversion from digital to analog. When the audio is sent from your PC to the receiver via HDMI, it is still in digital format - bits and bytes. The receiver then converts this into analog in the form of soundwaves. It is important to note that your receiver will have a much higher quality digital to analog converter (DAC) than your onboard sound card.
 

piasabird

Lifer
Feb 6, 2002
17,183
60
91
HDMI it digitally encoded sound from a digital source. It is passed through without encoding or decoding. However, some sources are not HDCP compliant and this forces the sound to be decoded and encoded as a lower quality than say blu ray. HDMI sound is decoded by the device you sent it to like say a DVR, or sound amplifier.

Please reference and read the wikki on HDMI.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HDMI

HDMI has different versions and different versions use different standards. If the digital sound is encoded using HDCP compliant standards and then and only then the digital sound is simply passed through the HDMI as a digital stream which is decoded by the HDTV or amplifier. HDMI 1.4 is capable of carrying a significantly higher standards than you would get from an optical sound output jack. It really depends on the quality of your amplifier decoding the digital audio.
 
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